Things on Track for Tissue Machines

By Jayna Smith

 

It took about a half hour for the trucks to make the two mile trek from the start of South Street off Route 1 to the rotary.  The skilled drivers controlled the front 6 axles/48 wheels on the trailer separately from the rear section, and appeared to do so effortlessly around the rotary. (Photo by Jayna Smith).

Things at Woodland Pulp in Baileyville are coming along smoothly, as planned, according to the mill's Communication Manager Scott Beal.  The two tissue machines rolled through Calais from Eastport in route to the mill last Wednesday, July 8th.  The machines will be operated by St. Croix Tissue, an affiliate of Woodland Pulp.

"They are about 15 feet wide and 18 feet in diameter," Beal said of the Yankee Dryer cylinder machines.  Each weighs about 150 tons, and getting them from Eastport was a process in and of itself, but a very well-coordinated effort.  

In an email, Baileyville Town Manager Rick Bronson said he expected the trucks carrying the machinery to depart Eastport at 8:00 am and arrive in Baileyville at noon.  The departure time was correct; however, the two trucks did not hit South Street in Calais until around 12:30 pm, passing through the rotary about a half hour later, a trek of only about two miles.  It was approximately 3:30 when the massive machines finally reached in town Baileyville.  

Bronson explained, "These items are heavy enough and large enough that most bridges along the route were closed to other traffic," while one truck at a time crossed.  Wires along the route slowed traffic as some had to be lifted to accommodate the passage.  "Also, some bridges and larger culverts were protected with steel plates on the surface of the road to distribute the weight," Bronson reported.

In Baileyville, all shipments of pulp by truck to Eastport were put on hold that day, according to Bronson.  This was "to assist with the potential traffic problems."  He added that the few inland shipments of pulp to Lincoln ran as scheduled.

This tissue machines are part of a $120 million investment with 80 direct jobs and 200 indirect jobs expected to be created by this fall.  CEI Capital Management is the organization which provided the New Markets Tax Credit financing that enabled the purchase of the machinery, as well as the workforce training happening in Washington County to prepare a skilled workforce for the production.  

 

CEI Capital Management's CEO Charlie Spies stated, "Yankee Dryers moving through Calais stop traffic for two reasons.  One is their sheer size which is incredible.  But the other and more important reason is that new manufacturing facilities, and therefore new jobs, are a rare sight in rural America these days.  At CEI Capital Management, we are proud of this effort in Maine and to see the tangible impact of the Maine and the Federal New Markets Tax Credit Programs in our local economies--where every job is important."